You don’t start marketing campaigns blindly, and that includes promotional product pushes, as well. As the old carpentry saying goes, “Measure twice, cut once.” The same goes for your promotional product strategy. Just follow these five essential planning steps.
1. Establish a budget
Before you do anything else, establish a budget for your marketing campaign. Just as you would for a TV spot, magazine flyer or online ad, know what you’re willing to spend and how many consumers you plan to reach. You may not be able to nail down a number until you’ve reached step 4, but you should at the very least have a range in mind.
2. Look ahead at events
Pull out your work calendar and take a look at the year ahead. It’s best to tackle any promotional campaign early, so avoid investing less than a quarter ahead.
Consider holidays, seasonal contests, fundraising events, sponsorship opportunities, planned golf outings, conferences and trade shows and annual gifts to customers, partners and employees. These are all excellent opportunities to build your brand among crowds of consumers with the help of.
But it’s also worth planning ahead for a year’s worth of promotional products you can use for year-round distribution, whether as a token of customer appreciation, a gift to show thanks for contest or survey participation, office visits, new hire welcome-aboard packages and other purposes.
3. Map out the specifics for each event
Once you’ve established a basic schedule and list of events of promotional product purposes, begin developing the specifics of each item on that list. Much of the time, you’ll be mixing step 3 with step 4.
For instance, say you want to give away promotional tailgating gear at a sporting event in October. Ahead of time, note down what the total budget of this push is going to be, what kinds of products make sense based on transportability and price, how many of that product – in this case, perhaps custom coolers – you want to distribute and the method of distribution. In some cases, this might be by mail, which will require you to add postage to the budget. In the case of the tailgating gear, perhaps you and your employees will be handing out the coolers as giveaways in the arena parking lot.
You’ll also want to decide whether consumers must qualify for a product. For instance, do they need to send you a certain number of UPC codes or receipt information to prove they’ve purchased your goods and services in the past? Do they need to sign up for a mailing list? In the case of the tailgating giveaway, perhaps they just need to show up. Get creative with this—sometimes making consumers feel like they’ve earned a promotional product can increase its value to them.
It’s also important to set up a methodology for measuring your return-on-investment for promotional products ahead of time. After all, that’s why you’re investing in them. See step 5 for tips on measuring ROI and implementing better systems.
4. Pick and design your promotional giveaways
While getting through the nitty-gritty of each event on your calendar, you’ll want to think about which promotional products work best. Logo tote bags are great for trade shows, where attendees need them to carry swag, notebooks and other pertinent items. But they’re equally effective at any farmers market if you happen to be a local sponsor of one.
You may also want to design your logo and slogan on each product to reflect the event. Organizing a holiday fundraiser in December? Get festive and switch up your usual company colors to reflect the season. Sending outto loyal consumers? Include a message expressing your appreciation.
Customization also lends itself to wit, so if you’ve got a hilarious idea for an event-specific promotional item, don’t be afraid to win over customers with that. In many ways, cleverness and humor are unprecedented brand builders, and promotional items can offer you a unique outlet for them.
5. Measure your results
Advertising is built around ROI. But promotional products can be tricky to measure, which is why it can pay off to have an ROI metric in place before you begin.
Geek Tech Marketing offered these basic tips:
It’s important that you do something with your ROI information as well. As Geek Tech Marketing pointed out, it’s only through constantly adjusting your system that you’ll see results.